The International Medieval Congress is organised in Leeds from July 1st to 4th in 2019. The IMC provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies and not only several special thematic focus but also almost any topics related to the proposals of Middle Ages could be discussed and presented in Leeds. Since its inception in 1994 the IMC has brought researchers from different countries, backgrounds, and disciplines together, providing opportunities for networking and professional development in an open and inclusive environment. This IMC is administered by the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds and takes place here on the main University campus.
The IMC provides spaces and opportunities for medievalists throughout the world to network, socialise and discuss and normally the IMC could attract around 3,000 Middle Ages researchers to attend. Medievalists have the opportunities to propose their latest researches, discuss individual thoughts from different perspectives and network with members from different countries to further explore from the academy perspective. Almost all participants who would like to propose their thoughts and papers achieve opportunities to present their papers in public and discuss with professional medievalists around the world.
The IMC also hosts a wide series of concerts, exhibitions and excursions, which are open to delegates and the public alike. The IMC as one of the largest academic conference of Medieval Studies in Europe, not only attracts professional medievalists to explore the Middle Ages in terms of academy but also attract many staff, students and local residents to know more about the history, life and stories of Middle Ages and encourage more people to be interested in Medieval Studies successfully.
I also attended an excursion organised by the IMC and excursions normally are located in surrounding regions of fascinating medieval sites and resources in Yorkshire. The IMC excursions provide me a fantastic experience about the Middle Ages across the North of England through exploring in secular and religious sites. I attended a trip to Towton Battlefield with the guides from the Battlefield Society.
Towton was an event of the greatest importance for England. It was the final and decisive battle in the first of a series of English civil wars, collectively known as the Wars of the Roses that took place between 1455 and 1487. When the wars began, England was a medieval country, but after their conclusion, the victorious Tudor dynasty would make England a distinctly different nation state.
In the battle of Towton, there were two rival Kings which were Henry VI of the House of Lancaster and Edward IV of the House of York. On that day, the future of their dynasties would be decided. The magnitude of the battle was reflected by the proportion of the population involved. Professor Charles Ross, one of the most eminent historians of the period, estimated that one-tenth of all Englishmen and Welshmen eligible to fight (those aged between sixteen and sixty) were present on the battlefield.
Towton was certainly a unique event which claims to be the biggest, longest, bloodiest and the most brutal battle on English soil. The size of the two forces had expanded exponentially during the First War of the Roses, so had their viciousness, which by the time of Towton had moved beyond victorious nobles taking swift revenge on defeated rivals and expanded to encompass retribution amongst the common soldiery. Thus when one side, finally and after many hours of fighting, broke in flight and found itself trapped on the battlefield, there was little chance of escape and none of surrender. That, taken with the killing power of the medieval longbow at the onset of the battle helps to explain such extraordinary casualty figures. It also explains the resonant names of places on the battlefield such as Bloody Meadow and the Bridge of Bodies.